UK retail sales growth is weak in March as inflation hurts sentiment -- CBI
British retailers saw their sales dropping this month as higher prices weighed on consumer enthusiasm for spending, a Confederation of British Industry survey showed on Thursday.
The CBI's monthly retail sales balance dropped to +9 from +14 in February, which was below the +10 that analysts had expected.
And the sales-for-the-time-of-year measure suffered a big fall, plummeting to -23 from +16 last month.
Sales are also expected to remain below seasonal norms (but to a lesser extent) in April at -6%.
Internet sales volumes in the year to March also fell at the sharpest rate since the question was first asked in August 2009 (-46% from -11% in February), although this is in comparison to March 2021 when non-essential retail stores were closed. Internet sales are expected to decline at a modest pace next month (-6%).
The survey covered almost 100 companies, including 38 retailers.
Martin Sartorius, Principal Economist at the CBI, said: “Retailers had a mediocre March, with sales reported as being below seasonal norms. The cost-of-living crisis is looming large across the sector, as households’ wallets are being hit by the fastest rate of inflation in decades.
“The Chancellor’s Spring Statement outlined new support for those on low incomes amid these financial challenges. But further action will be needed to galvanise consumer confidence, shore up incomes, and support spending on UK high streets in the tough months to come.”
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